My Interpretation of History  

LennyMet59 60M
1 posts
9/10/2017 3:37 am
My Interpretation of History

Hi, my 58th birthday is this coming September 30, 2017. Actually, the first historical event I distinctly remember as a small , 4 years old is the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Tx on November 22, 1963. I vividly remember a black and white printed newspaper photograph of his American flag covered coffin during the funeral procession in Washington, D.C.. The other significant events of the 1960s are the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. I heard about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in the spring of 1968 while I was attending third grade in elementary school in Middle Village, Queens, NY when I was 8 years old. Now, I was just a little and was completely naïve about the nature of race relations in the contemporary United States, about the fact that there was this big distinction between Black, White and Asian people and what the reason for it was. About the same time, my parents mail ordered for us this first volume of a series of books called the Time Life Nature Library which was called "Early Man". When I looked through the book, I was too young to understand the textual material but after each chapter was a pictorial section of photographs and paintings which I found to be very interesting. A lot of them had artist's conceptions of what early more primitive bipedal humans looked like in central Africa around 4 million years ago. There were several artist's depictions of rival species of hominids fighting each other in the plains of eastern Africa around that time. I sort of got the idea that I was this small or immature human being looking at all this violent rivalry that took place among my human ancestors several million years before in the evolution of mankind that led up to my birth in the mid 20th century.
Another book I looked at was one about dinosaurs, which had a lot of by now outdated conceptions of what dinosaurs were actually like. Anyway, the main feature of that book was that it had a colored timeline on the page bottoms of the book which went backward in time about 300 million years in Earth's past all the way to the end of the book to the Carboniferous Era when the first amphibians were emerging onto the land. Now, what struck me was at the extreme very beginning of that line was this extremely thin line, less than a millimeter in width was signified the total length of recorded or written human history going back some 5,000 years in the past to when the first civilizations were emerging in the river valleys around the world. The line had lines spaced in 1 inch intervals each signifying a million years of geologic time. I have since learned that the age of the Earth and the rest of the solar system is estimated to go back a staggering 4.54 billion years, so the length of geologic time signified in that book only goes back a mere 6.6% or so into the past. Another thing, the beginning of one of the chapters in that book mentioned was that most of the animals we contemporary humans are very familiar with like familiar warm blooded mammals and birds have actually existed in their present form for the last 65 million years from the beginning of the Cenozoic Era or age of mammals after the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs and other large animals that then lived on Earth. I then realized that for the vast majority of Earth's history in the Precambrian Era going back over 3.5 billion years there actually was no life on Earth visible to the unaided naked eye, but only microscopic single celled microbe life and one would need the aid of a microscope to see them in the bodies of water on the Earth and that all the continental landmasses were completely barren in appearance like a desert landscape.
In the 1960s, I also remember the Apollo moon landing program and some events of the Vietnam War. The first United States Presidential election I remember very well is when Richard M. Nixon won in November 1968. When I attended 6th grade in 1970/71 at 11 years old I had my first introduction to ancient history about the early civilizations of Mesopotania, Egypt, Greece, Rome and China and India. I remember the class didn't go all the way to the end of the textbook. Then in the spring of 1974, I had a social studies course in African and Asian history in middle school. Later in high school in 1975, I think my favorite course was one in medieval European history going from the fall of the western Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D. all the way to the modern era of the 20th century. I thought that the teacher was very effective in the way he interpreted events in history.
In the mid 1970s, I was hooked on the BBC television series "The World at War" about the events of World War II from 1933 to 1945 which was on television every Sunday night. I found it to be a very fascinating depiction of history. I then studied a lot about the following events of the Cold War and the rivalry between the United States, the Soviet Union, Red China, western Europe and other nations of the world in the following decades of the 1950s to 1990s. At the time in the 1970s, I was also hooked on watching television reruns of the original Star Trek series as well as the prime time television series "Happy Days" which gave a conception of what life was like in America in the 1950s. Earlier around 1970, one of the first movies I saw in a theatre was "Gone With the Wind" (1939). Being 10 years old, I was too young to understand what was going on in the plot but it gave me an inkling of what life was like in the divided United States during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Then 20 years later in the autumn of 1990, I saw the Ken Burn's miniseries about the Civil War which I thought had an excellent depiction of what it was like back then.
I have seen a lot of movies based on major historical events including "The Ten Commandments"(1956), "Ben Hur"(1959), "Spartacus"(1960), "The Longest Day"(1964), "Anne of a Thousand Days" (1970), "Troy", "Tora, Tora, Tora", (1970), "Patton"(1970), "MacArthur"( 1976), "Flags of Our Fathers", "Letters from Iwo Jima", "The Right Stuff"(1983), "Gladiator", "Cleopatra"(1963) etc. When I've thought about it, all of those moves give this entirely phony conception of what those events that took place in history were actually like. In all the films depicting events in ancient history like in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, you will blatantly notice that all the actors are speaking contemporary English when in fact, the English language didn't even exist at all, several thousand years ago. Also, most of the behavior of the people in those films closely resembles the way contemporary American or European people behave and is totally unlike the way the people depicted at the time really were like. If you watch a lot of American westerns or other historical movies, you blatantly notice that Caucasian actors are playing American Indians and don't resemble Native Americans who they really were.
One thing I've always noticed since childhood is that most contemporary people seem to have this ridiculous conception of what prehistoric or stone age people going back some 5 million years into the past mostly in Africa really were like. For example, all these depictions of prehistoric people encountering dinosaurs, when in fact dinosaurs became extinct some 60 million years before human evolution even started. Another thing is that early modern humans were always enduring the rigors of the ice ages or lived in caves, calling them "cave men". Now, I don't think that most stone age people going back some 100,000 years into the past ever actually lived in caves and geological structures like caves are really that common on the Earth's surface. For most of human evolution, our ancestors were really inhabiting this sort of lush savanna, grassland, jungle environment that exists in eastern Africa were all the aspects of our human bodies and brains evolved into our present form for the past 5 million years into the past.
When I visited my uncle in Mexico City in June/July 1978, I did get to go on an automobile trip north of the city to the Aztec Pyramid complex built around 600 A.D..
I found it amazing as an 18 year old to actually be visiting a major historical site. Earlier that year in April 1978, I visited the still standing World Trade Center and looked out at New York harbor from the observation deck of one of the towers and I vividly remember looking at the tiny bright green figure of the Statue of Liberty over the blue water of the harbor. Technically, that was a major historical site in view of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, 16 years ago which I remember like it was yesterday. The other major historical events I can remember vividly are the space shuttle Challenger disaster of January 28, 1986, the Columbia tragedy of February 1, 2003, the tragic automobile accident that killed Princess Diana on August 31, 1997, 20 years ago. When I heard about all these tragedies I could simply not believe at the time that they had actually occurred. I remember the events of the Watergate Scandal in the early 1970s which as a I interpreted as complete phony nonsense. I remember the events of the Gulf War in the winter of 1990/91 very well. The first thing I remember about the Space race was a Surveyor probe landing on the moon in the mid 1960s and the tragic Apollo Fire in February 1967. I remember how exciting it was to see those color photographs of the red surface of Mars when the 2 Viking probes landed there in 1976 and then later those detailed photographs of the structure of Saturn's rings when the Voyager space probes arrived there in 1980. As a in the 1970s, I vividly recall the launch of the Skylab space station and the events of the conclusion of the Vietnam war in April 1975

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